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News Release

September 17, 2007 - About 482,000 More Homeowners Have Applied for Property Tax Relief; Tax Commissioner: Deadline is Oct. 1

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Time is running out to sign up for the newly-expanded homestead exemption, which offers more than a half million additional senior citizens and disabled Ohioans hundreds of dollars of property tax savings starting with taxes paid next year.

Tax Commissioner Richard A. Levin said today that county auditors must receive homestead exemption applications by Oct. 1 in order for taxpayers to receive property tax relief on their 2007 bills, which are payable next year. Forms postmarked by Oct. 1 – but received after that day – will not be accepted by auditors, he said.

“Homeowners who haven’t signed up yet need to act fast,” Levin said. “Get that application in the mail today. Or, better yet, pay a visit to your local county auditor.”

Fortunately, hundreds of thousands of Ohioans have already signed up for the newly-expanded exemption, according to a new Ohio Department of Taxation survey of county auditors. (Note: County-by-county results are available on the department's Web site.)

The statewide survey shows that an estimated 482,000 senior citizens and permanently and totally disabled Ohioans had applied for the property tax relief program as of Thursday, Sept. 13. That’s nearly 88 percent of the estimated 550,000 additional homeowners thought to be eligible.

“Ohio’s county auditors are doing an outstanding job getting the word out,” Levin said. “Still, it’s clear that there are more Ohioans out there eligible for meaningful property tax relief.”

The above figures do not include approximately 224,000 homeowners who were already signed up under the old homestead exemption rules, which excluded Ohioans who earned more than $26,200. Homeowners who were already signed up for the homestead exemption before July 1 do not have to reapply.

The expansion of the homestead exemption was a key component of the two-year state budget bill signed into law on June 30 by Governor Ted Strickland. The changes generally mean that, regardless of income, senior citizens and permanently and totally disabled Ohioans who owned their home on Jan. 1 may shield $25,000 of the market value of their home from property taxes.

The exact amount of savings from the exemption, which is nonrefundable, will vary from community to community based on local tax rates. On average across Ohio, newly-signed up homeowners are expected to save about $400 per year.

Applications for the homestead exemption are available from any county auditor or on the Ohio Department of Taxation’s Web site: www.tax.ohio.gov.

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Note to media: A county-by-county summary of the number of senior citizens who have applied for the homestead exemption is available at:

http://tax.ohio.gov/divisions/communications/news_releases/documents/HE_summaryv4.xls

For more information, contact John Kohlstrand at (614) 644-3858 or Mike McKinney at (614) 466-5461.